The Verner Migration West
By...Thomas Edward Verner of Meadow, Texas

The following account is contributed by Thomas Edward Verner of Meadow, Texas, who is a direct descendant of John Verner, Sr., the progenitor of the Southern and Western branch of the Verner family. John Verner Sr. had a son David who fought beside him with other sons John Jr., George, and James. James was taken prisoner by the British and died of smallpox in a prison camp in Charleston S.C. during the American Revolution. David had a son David Jr. whose son David Derrick grew to manhood on his father's and grandfather's plantation in upper S.C. Thomas Jefferson Verner, David Derrick's brother, left home at the early age of seventeen to settle in Smith County, Texas in the early 1850's. About two years later David Derrick married Elizabeth Megarity of Elbert Co. Georgia. For a few years he engaged in farming and stock raising in Gerogia, then he moved to Alabama where his son John Thomas was born Sept. 11, 1858. He moved back to Georgia in 1861 and joined the Confederate Army where he served until 1864. He then moved to Fulton Miss. In 1869, he and his brother Franklin decided to follow their brother to Texas. Their cousins James Hill Verner and Thomas Eugene, sons of Caleb and grandsons of David Sr. decided to join them. They formed a wagon train and headed for Texas. They arrived in Smith county some six months later. It was here that Lewis Franklin and his three sons, Finley, Walter, and Ebenezer, and his brother Thomas Jefferson and his eight sons lived. James Hill and his brother Thomas Turpin settled in Delta County.

David Derrick Verner moved after six months from Smith county to Hill county. Here he and his wife Elizabeth Megarity and family settled. Their capital was a yoke of oxens and two little blue mules. They traded the mules valued at 150 dollars for 640 acres of rich black land. He prospered in farming and horse raising since horses were a valuable asset. Those pioneer days were rough, since the nearest town was fifty miles and the nearest doctor twenty. There was bountiful food in wild game such as turkeys and deer. Here they remained until David Derrick's death in 1877. He was a brave soldier, a good provider, a loving husband and father, ever mindful of the protecting hand of God. He delighted in preaching the Word to new fronteers throughout Texas. During one of his baptisimal services his young son fell from his perch in a willow tree and an unexpected emersion took place. He was never without his Bible even when he went to war.

After the death of David Derrick Verner his two sons Howell Pierce and William David died of peneumonia (1880). This left his wife and son John Thomas and daughter Amey Suella. John Thomas operated a wagon freight line from Hillshore to Cleburn for several years. In the early 1800 the Denver-Fortworth railroad construction began. These three worked together operating a commissary and cooking for the crew. They returned to Wise County where John Thomas fell in love and married Mira Lucretia Norris in 1891. Here they remained until 1894 and then moved to Fort Sill Indian Teritory where he took up construction work again. They soon moved on to Bandera county in South Texas, by wagon train. In about six months they moved again to a few miles west of Fort Worth. Here he engaged in farming and stock raising until 1909. His next move was to Wichita Falls to the oil boom country. Another oil boom attracted him to Hogtown after he had left Wichita Falls for a short stay in Stephensville. This was called the boom of Desdamonia. These different moves helped him to pick up extra cash. At the age of sixty-two he headed west and settled in Terry County.

Because of circumstances John Thomas Verner did not have the privilege of acquiring an education but his keen sense of value and cost managed to keep his family from want. He was a grand old Christian character who spent his last years doing the thing he loved most, farming. In 1952 he passed to his great reward at the age of 94.